Update: The negative feedback seems to have resonated with the Bing team. A spokeswoman just sent this statement (around 2:15 p.m. ET on May 9): "We heard the feedback, and we're disabling the feature now."
Microsoft officials said the change is just a test and that it is limited to the U.S. But Bing users I'm hearing from say the test is not limited to the U.S. and is happening in many other countries as well.
When I asked what was happening, I received this statement from a Microsoft spokesperson:
"We are currently testing a new homepage experience in the U.S. The Bing homepage is used by millions on a daily basis, and before we make any features permanent, they undergo intensive testing and experimentation to ensure the best possible search experience for our customers. We have nothing further to share at this time."
Microsoft conducts Bing user experience tests regularly. Sometimes the changes the Softies are testing never show up as final changes. Sometimes -- as in the case with the latest streamlined Bing results page -- they are incorporated into new releases of Microsoft's search interface.
Speaking of defaults, I've noticed if Bing is set to be your default search engine and you type a query into the URL bar, as I do regularly, the results are not popping up in a separate page or window.
Microsoft's @Bing Twitter account is directing those with strong opinions about the new search experience to this site to submit feedback.